Nothing Quite Like Completing a Quest
by Paul Angilly
May 4, 2004
In today’s collecting world of $100 packs, ultra-limited inserts and extremely short-printed
rookie cards, it’s important to have realistic collecting goals to work toward.
The ultimate goal for any collector -- whether they collect sports cards, stamps, Star Wars figures,
matchbook covers or commemorative state spoons -- is to have one of everything. But in a card collecting
environment where "1-of-1" has become an all-to-common term, getting one of everything is
That is, unless you limit your scope.
For some people that could mean building a "master set" for an issue such as 2001 Topps Heritage
baseball. For others, it could mean piecing together the original 1952 Topps set. Some might set a simpler
goal, such as getting one copy of every regular-issue Ryne Sandberg card.
Whatever you chose to chase, it should be something that you find fun -- something you enjoy collecting, but
which shouldn’t be too easy to find (what fun is collecting something if you can find it all with a quick
search?). Perhaps most importantly, it should be something that is within your budget. After all, not everyone
can afford building a 1952 Topps set.
This week, I want to illustrate that point by writing about one of my own long-time pursuits which has recently
come to a successful conclusion -- getting one of every 7-Eleven Slurpee Coins baseball set ever made.
First, a little history: In 1983, 7-Eleven stores in the Los Angeles area began including "Super Star
Sports Coins" (actually 1¾-inch diameter plastic-coated discs) featuring baseball players from the Los
Angeles Dodgers and California Angels with large Slurpee drinks. The discs were found one at a time inside
a false bottom on the cups.
The discs in the 12-card set used the lenticular technology associated with later Sportflics issues to show
one of two different photos on the front, depending upon how the disc was tilted -- either a head shot or an
action photo. The backs included the players’ career statistics.
After 7-Eleven tested the waters with that inaugural set, three different 24-card sets were issued on a
regional basis in 1984. For instance, collectors in the eastern part of the country would find many players
from the Red Sox, Yankees, Mets, Phillies, Orioles, Pirates, etc.; while the central part of the country got
a set that focused on the Cardinals, Brewers, Indians, Twins, Royals, White Sox and Cubs; and the west set
had predominantly players from the Padres, Angels, Dodgers, Giants, Mariners and Athletics.
It is that regional nature that makes the 7-Eleven Slurpee Coins sets so tough to chase after -- collectors
in any given area only had access to the discs designated for their specific area. For instance, collectors
in Connecticut wouldn’t be able to go to their local 7-Eleven and find the Nolan Ryan disc (a West
region exclusive). On the plus side, collectors here also didn’t have to deal with the disappointment of
finding Atlee Hammaker’s grinning face at the bottom of their drink.
In 1985, the 7-Eleven disc sets expanded to six regions, with 16 different "coins" in each of
five regions, plus a 14-card Tigers set honoring the 1984 World Series champs, issued in Detroit. The discs
included three images of the player instead of just two.
The discs returned in 1986 with a twist -- instead of three images of the same player, three different players
were pictured on most cards (the exception being a Dwight Gooden disc that was included in each of the four
16-card regional sets issued that year).
The three-player discs included some interesting combinations, such as: "Batting Champs" (Wade
Boggs, George Brett and Pete Rose), "Home Run Champs" (Dale Murphy, Jim Rice and Mike Schmidt)
and "Strikeout Kings" (Steve Carlton, Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver).
It was in 1987 that I first started frequenting my local 7-Eleven on the way to work each day to pick up
a Slurpee and add to my card collection. That year, there were five different regional sets issued, and
I chased after the East region set that included five cards each from the Red Sox, Yankees and Mets.
After a three-year hiatus, the Slurpee discs returned under the Score brand name in 1991 with a total of
120 cards issued in eight different regions. It was that year that I caught a break and really began my
Slurpee Coin collection -- by mistake, my local 7-Eleven got a shipment of the Atlantic region cups,
instead of the Northeast region it should have gotten. After numerous Slurpee brain freezes, I was able
to complete both the Atlantic and Northeast regional sets that year.
Score brought back the Slurpee discs in 1992 as a single 26-card set, with one player from each team. After
another hiatus of seven years, the 7-Eleven Coins returned in 2000 as a 30-card (one player per
team) nationally-issued set made by Pacific Trading Cards.
So over an 18-year span, 29 different sets were issued, all but the last two on a regional basis, for a total
of 493 different cards. Believe me, that’s a lot of Slurpees.
Beginning in the late ’90s, I began searching for sets of the discs at card shows, in hobby magazine ads and
most successfully through eBay. The bad news was that the regional sets were tough to find, but the good news
was that when I found them, they only cost about $10 each.
It was just over five weeks ago that I finally found the last set I needed for the complete run -- the 1991
Florida regional set. For a winning bid of $4.99, plus another $5.53 for shipping, my collection was
The joy I experienced in finally completing my quest is something I think every collector is hoping for. If
you want to experience similar satisfaction in your collecting pursuits, I encourage you to find a similar
set or sets to focus your attention on. Maybe in a few years you, too, can experience the pleasure of finally
having "one of everything."
About the author
Paul Angilly is a sports reporter for The Bristol Press in Connecticut, and
has been collecting sports cards and memorabilia for 30 years. He is not a
dealer, nor does he make a profit from buying and selling cards. His weekly
sports card and memorabilia collecting column appears each week in The
Bristol Press and several other
daily newspapers in
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